Close Up

7 - 28 January 2008: Essential Cinema III


Woman of the Dunes
Hiroshi Teshigahara
1964 | 141 min | B/W | Digital  

Hiroshi Teshigahara's fable Woman of the Dunes (based on the novel by existentialist writer Kobo Abe) remains as mystifying, serene and provoking as when it was first released. The film combines an extremely erotic drama with a terrifically gripping thriller. It is also a work of great visual inventiveness and beauty featuring startling high-contrast black and white photography from Hiroshi Segawa and a minimalist score by Toru Takemitsu.  

Les Vacances de Mr Hulot
Jacques Tati
1953 | 84 min | B/W | Digital  

The film that brought Tati international acclaim also launched his on-screen alter ego: the courteous, well-meaning, eternally accident-prone and much loved Monsieur Hulot. Les Vacances de M. Hulot is set in a sleepy French coastal resort which is seasonally disrupted by fun-loving holidaymakers. At the centre of the chaos is the eccentric Hulot, struggling at all times to maintain appearances, but somehow entirely divorced from his immediate surroundings. There is virtually no plot – the film is a series of incidents, a seamless succession of gently mocking studies of human absurdity.  

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Tony Richardson
1962 | 104 min | B/W | Digital  

Tom Courtenay, in his debut role, plays Colin Smith, a juvenile delinquent sentenced to a Borstal for burglary. Sullen and antisocial, he finds freedom in the solitude of cross-country running. When his sporting prowess catches the eye of the smug governor (Michael Redgrave) he is coached to compete in a race against a local public school. The governor dreams of sporting glory, but Colin dreams of revenge. Out of the screenplay by Alan Sillitoe, based on his own story, director Tony Richardson created one of the most powerful dramas of the 1960s.  

Federico Fellini
1963 | 138 min | B/W | Digital  

Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema and one of the greatest films about film ever made. Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a director whose film – and life – is collapsing around him. As Guido struggles half-heartedly to work on the film, a series of flashbacks and dreams delve into his memories and fantasies; they are frequently interwoven and confused with reality.